For the first time since 1945, German tanks appeared in Poland.
Now we are planning to base four NATO battalions — one U.S.-led, one British, one German, and perhaps one Canadian, as the French and Italians are balking at being part of a tripwire for war.
How would we react if 31,000 Russian, Chinese, Cuban, Iranian and North Korean troops conducted military exercises across from El Paso and Brownsville, Texas?
How would we react if each of those countries left behind a battalion of troops to prevent a repeat of General “Black Jack” Pershing’s intervention in Mexico in 1916?
Americans would be apoplectic.
Nor are some Europeans enthusiastic about confronting Moscow.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the NATO exercises “warmongering” and “saber-rattling.” He adds, “Anyone who believes that symbolic tank parades on the alliance’s eastern border will increase security is wrong. We would be well-advised not to deliver any excuses for a new, old confrontation.”
Not only is Steinmeier’s Social Democratic Party leery of any new Cold War with Russia, so, too, is the German Left Party, and the anti-EU populist party Alternative for Germany, which wants closer ties to Russia and looser ties to the United States.
This month, we sent the USS Porter into the Black Sea. Why? Says Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, “to deter potential aggression.”
While there is talk of a NATO Black Sea fleet, Bulgaria, one of the three NATO Black Sea nations, appears to want no part of it.
The European Union also just voted to extend sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea and supporting separatists in Ukraine.
Donald Trump calls the NATO alliance a rip-off, a tripwire for World War III and “obsolete.” Hillary Clinton compares Putin’s actions in Ukraine to Hitler’s actions in Germany in the early 1930s.